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Centre for Evolution and Cancer

The Centre for Evolution and Cancer at The Institute of Cancer Research is applying Charles Darwin’s principle of natural selection within ecosystems to our understanding of why we develop cancer and why it is so difficult to treat.

Video: Professor Mel Greaves launches the Centre for Evolution and Cancer

Researchers at the centre are answering three big questions in cancer medicine: why are humans so vulnerable to cancer; what determines the unpredictable development of cancers in the body over time; and why is drug resistance so frequent?

Computational biologists, geneticists, cell biologists and clinical scientists are working together to explore exciting new avenues of cancer-related evolutionary research. Researchers are identifying the genetic diversity within individual tumours, and exploring the use of genetic profiling of tumours as fingerprints that could predict progression of disease, metastases or drug resistance.

Dr Andrea Sottoriva, Leader of the Evolutionary Genomics and Modelling Team, is currently the Chris Rokos Fellow in Evolution and Cancer at the ICR.

The Centre is supported by a Strategic Award from the Wellcome Trust.

Scientific aims

The Centre has been set up under the leadership of Professor Mel Greaves to answer the question of why is cancer so common, and why is the disease so often resistant to treatment?

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Team Leaders

The centre brings together leading researchers from the ICR to thwart the evolutionary resilience of cancer in order to reduce the burden of cancer on society.

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The Darwin Cancer Blog

Led by Professor Mel Greaves, this blog provides a forum for the discussion of how an evolutionary perspective is changing thinking about cancer.

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The Centre has ongoing recruitment for students (PhD), post-doctoral, and scientific officers (technical level) including bioinformatics posts. For more information contact Professor Mel Greaves

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